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tv   Nightline  ABC  February 20, 2013 12:35am-1:05am PST

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tonight, cold-blooded murder or tragic mistake? for the first time, olympian oscar pistorius describes what happened the fateful night he gun down his model girlfriend. from a famous real house wives drama free family, the high intensity bonding game. one man's mission to uncover the secrets of happy families. and america's most elite fighters stepping out of the
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shadows. >> they're coming in hot. >> a navy s.e.a.l. opening the doors to the secret world of the guys who took down osama bin laden.
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in recent years, most of the stories written about oscar pistorius centered around his drive to beat the fastest runners in the world despite being born without functional legs. now all anyone cares about is what drove this olympian to shoot his girlfriend four time in the early hours of valentine's day. after being accused of premeditated murder, he released his side of the story for the first time today and abc's reporter has the details. >> reporter: it is the mysterious valentine's day shooting that has shocked the
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world. paralympic mega star oscar pistorius is accused of killing his cover girlfriend. >> when you make your exit, it is so important. >> reporter: now this recredibly taped reality show featuring the model added to the nation's heart break when it aired unseen footage on south african tv. >> so many amazing memories and things that are in here. >> reporter: but today, oscar pistorius is calling her brutal death a tragic mistake. the track star appeared in court sobbing as his lawyer read oscar's own account of what happened that night. they were both sleeping, pistorius wrote, when he woke up, went out on the balcony and suddenly heard what he thought was an intruder in the bathroom. it filled me with horror and fear as i did not have my prosthetic legs on and felt extremely vulnerable. i knew i had to protect reeva and myself. in the pitch dark, he said he grabbed his .9 millimeter
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handgun. rushed into the bathroom and noticed an open window and thought an intruder was hiding in the toilet room. he fired shots through the locked door and yelled at reeva to call police. there was no response. that is when it dawned on me that it could have been reeva who was in the toilet. he then says he broke down the locked door to save his girlfriend. in all, he shot at reeva four time and claims she died in his arms as he desperately tried to revive her. i am absolutely mortified by the events and the devastating loss of my beloved reeva. >> he is effectively admitting he shot an innocent person. that puts new tough spot legally. i have to believe his best hope is for a lesser charge rather than an all-out not guilty verdict. >> reporter: the prosecutors say their evidence tells a different story. they think the couple fought that night and that steenkamp fled into the bathroom to escape her enraged boyfriend. the lead prosecutor said today she long the door for a purpose.
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we'll get to that purpose. pistorius is currently losing the battle for public opinion in south africa where incriminating claims are swirling in local media. new reports quoting police sources say that steroids were found in his house and investigators are testing his blood for the drug that can cause roid rage. aggressive outbursts. >> if convicted of premeditated murder, he is facing a sentence of life in prison. >> reporter: as he pled his case in court this morning, reeva steenkamp's res mains were taken to a church in her home town where family and friends gathered for a memorial service. >> there is a space missing inside all the people that she knew. it can't be filled again. we're going to keep all the positive things that we remember and know about my sister and we will try to continue with the things that she tried to make better. we'll miss her. >> it is only one thing missing,
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reeva. we've got to get -- >> reporter: before the tragedy, oscar pistorius and reeva steenkamp were south africa's hottest new couple. her modeling career was just taking off and oscar was a national hero. the first double amputee to run in the olympics. >> i perceive myself not being able to grow up to do any things other people can do. >> reporter: the world saw him as a charming and soft hearted fighter. but some who knew him say he had a short temper and was often paranoid about his safety. south africa has one of the highest crime rates in the world. espn reporter jeremy spent time with him. >> oscar pistorius was like many who live in south africa who live in some degree of fear of being a vmi of violence. >> reporter: a few months ago,
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he tweeted about possible break-ins and how he would react. nothing like getting home to hear the washing machine on and thinking it's an intruder to go into full combat recon mode into the pantry. over the last few days, corporate sponsors have distanced themselves from pistorius suspending the ads. and as a shocked nation comes to terms with this brutal tragedy, perhaps steenkamp's own words are a small comfort. >> i'm going to miss you all so much. i love you very, very much. >> reporter: for "nightline," south africa. just ahead, from bare foot basketball games to obstacle course bonding. one man's quest to unlock the secrets of happy families. ♪ [ male announcer ] start with a groundbreaking car. good. then invent an entirely new way to buy one. no.
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happy families are all alike. every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. leo tolstoy intend that had line as the gloomy intro but plenty of modern families would love to know about the first bit. what love to know what the happy ones do have in common. one author spent the last few weeks researching the deals to brady bunch level domestic bliss. tonight he is sharing what he discovered. >> reporter: could this really be the seek to a happy family?
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that's kyle richards, star of bravo's real house wives of beverly hills. >> one, two, three. >> reporter: or is this the secret? sweating it out with my three sons? or maybe it's this. >> hit a home run? >> reporter: a goofy game, more a fit of giggles than anything else. according no guy, having a blissful family takes work. >> very good. >> reporter: they say kids don't come with a user's manual, so best selling author bruce set out to write one. >> i was frustrated. it is not like a parent, we were just lost. the shrinks, the self-help gurus, the experts, those ideas were really stale. >> reporter: he often used his own family as guinea pigs. he turned to gurus for the secrets. some quite surprising.
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try moving the furniture, cancel date night and let the kids pick their own punishments. >> what if they're making easy punishments? >> it turn out we had to style them back. they're usually much harsher than we are. >> reporter: on allowance, warren buffett said don't link allowance to chores. for games, the folks said let your kids fail. it motivates. it seems unlikely that kyle richards could be a real housewife and run a tranquil family. >> don't ever talk to me like that again. >> reporter: how we'll could your family life be when you're a reality show star? >> very real. the moms at school see me showing up in my pajamas and slippers. i'm a wife and a mom. that's my number one job. >> reporter: a job she takes seriously.
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raising farra, sophia and porsche. it turns out she and her husband instinctively live the secrets that were uncovered. >> having four kids, as they get older, it is not easy to get them all four at the same time. we have to fight for that all the time. >> reporter: the hard fought moments create memories. a stitch in the tapestry of the larger family history. >> russian, greek, turkish, right? >> you nailed it. >> i lost both my parents. it is important for me to talk about them a lot with our daughters. >> reporter: and knowing your family's legacy is surprisingly critical. >> do you know what the single biggest predictor is of emotional happiness? >> reporter: how many teenage girls gush about their dads like this? >> he is more like a friend to me. never, ever mad, never angry. he is the best ever. >> my parents were divorced when i was 2. i didn't have that.
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i love that they have that. >> reporter: studies show if girls have a close relationship with their father, they'll put off having sex longer. he is pleasantly surprised. >> that makes me want to be even closer. [ laughter ] >> reporter: he says successful institutions have mission statements. >> the glue that holds the family together. >> reporter: why not families? >> like my mom always said, my sisters and me, each of your accomplishments are a feather in all of our caps. >> how can they know what our values are if we don't articulate them? we are saying this is what's important to our family. >> reporter: and wacky family traditions breed happiness. they share a family bed. >> all of our limbs fall asleep. we sleep on our side at certain times and then we're not allowed to move of. >> reporter: for them, family happiness is far more organized. what didn't work so well with
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our family? >> i think she is still overreacting a lot. and daddy. everyone except you. >> reporter: small wins net big results. so they replaced the nagging with the list that the kids check off will. >> do you see their xs if they didn't do it? >> the week we introduced the morning check list into our family we cut parental screaming in half. so that the standard here is parental stress, our stress went in half. >> these technique have gotten us out of being stuck. the girls are really learning how to cook for themselves. >> reporter: to maximize team spirit, kyleo went commando. the challenges are run by former green berets. which brings us back to me and my three sons and this guy. lou, the former special ops who believes team work is a powerful motivator. we have our marching orders.
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>> it turns out when we get there there will be bad guys and we have to fight them. one, two, three, go! >> reporter: we grab our 25-pound supply packs -- >> to the right and then another right. then up the stairs. >> up the stairs? >> reporter: run up the tears and engage the enemy. forget top down management. ideas start bubbling up from the rank and file. >> i think we should have the slowest person up front. and then the fastest person in the back. >> good idea. >> your son felt confident enough to say i want to do it a different way and he had a really good plan. suddenly we changed what we were doing in real-time. he guess confidence that he's playing the leader now. >> if you can accomplish that type of team work, you can do anything. >> reporter: that is mission accomplished. new york. >> and the secrets of happy families is in book stores now. coming up next, a look inside the secretive world of the
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ever since the sunday night when president obama told the world of osama bin laden's demise, curiosity about the navy s.e.a.l.s who killed him has
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been insatiable. now one former high level officer is pulling back a bit more of the curtain, describing what these men go through to become a s.e.a.l. >> reporter: this used to be something none of us were meant to see. much less videotape and put on television. the navy s.e.a.l.s didn't only operate in the shadows. they trained in them, too. their whole story stayed shrouded in mystery. their secret missions stayed secret to the rest of us. but when they got osama bin laden, and when they're snatching back an american cargo ship captain taken by pirates and rescuing two aid workers in somalia, then it is like the s.e.a.l.s are headline makers. add to that that some of them are writing books about s.e.a.l. adventures, even acting in a movie about the s.e.a.l. experience, which by the way, live bullets, that's what they used when they made "act of
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valor," and you can no longer quite call them the military unit that no one ever talked about. take mark denver. he played lieutenant commander, it went on on gross $80 million at the box office. and he did some pretty decent acting. >> we have eight foreign nationals heading to our country. needless to say they are no fan of ours. >> reporter: now with the help of a professional writer, he is doing some pretty decent story telling. >> we're at the point when the heat is on. the mission is getting press and coverage will. >> reporter: some a good thing? >> time will tell. we're in the public eye and i think that mythology is something people are hugely interested in and they have an appetite for it. i have an opportunity to authentically represent that and hopefully do it from an honorable point of view. >> reporter: it is most list his own story he tells in damn few. >> they didn't want you.
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>> i put in my first application and they said no. i'm glad it went that way and i think the community really values resiliency and focus and a never quit attitude. for me when they said no, i said that wouldn't cut it. >> reporter: he didn't quit. he went on to survive the brutal hell week in training, joined the team and deployed all over the world including the deadly al anbar province in iraq. >> how is it for your family? >> the families are the ones that pay the price of the choices. they're the ones back home hoping and praying and believing that you're going to come home. >> reporter: really, even his family didn't quite know what he did at work every day. but the movie was revealing in that way. >> it was incredibly eye opening to actually see a submarine kind of mission or running around in the jungle. for me it was like oh, over this is what you're doing when you're away. i appreciated it actually. >> reporter: do you know who else has come to appreciate what
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the s.e.a.l.s do? washington. which should be a good thing for the unit, but there is a catch. politicians are saying we should have more of that good thing. more s.e.a.l.s. not necessarily smart says roarke. >> it scares me, to be honest. we don't know if there will be a delusion of the talent pool. i think as culter, we want to be deliberate. >> reporter: he's noticed in some training exercises, guys who fail are getting more and more doovers to try again like 10 or 12 times. >> i am concern about 12 attempts to get through a program where it used to be four. i was cognizant when we were going through training is not letting those instructors get away from that focus i said on it harder to make it better. >> reporter: usually there are about 2,500 s.e.a.l.s in service. many more than that apply and start the training. but most don't make it. so what does it take? >> i think it is a tremendous desire to succeed. i think it is an absolute inability to quit no matter how
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tough things get. >> reporter: that's why they call themselves the damn few. a term more of us know because the s.e.a.l.s are coming that much more out of the shadows. new york. >> damn few is in book stores and it shares a company with abc news. a note from our abc family to yours. when you wake up bright and early, our own robin roberts will be making her return to the anchor desk to "good morning america." it's been five months to the day to undergo a bone transplant. and in a recent meal with her co-workers, she said she's been visualizing her return ever since and we'll all toast to that. it will be great to see you in the morning. from all of us at "nightline." welcome back, robin and we hope to see you back tomorrow night.
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